KRL Staff Scary Movie Favorites!

Oct 29, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Books & Tales, Contributors, Movies

by KRL staff

This Halloween some of the KRL staff decided it would be fun to again share our favorite scary movies with our readers. Perhaps you’ll find one here you’ve never tried that you’ll want to enjoy with your Halloween fun! Feel free to comment on this article and share your favorites with us!

Christopher Lewis, Ministry Musings

“I’m having an old friend for dinner.” Those were the words of Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, at the end of my favorite suspense movie of all time, The Silence of the Lambs. The movie features a chillingly unbeatable acting performance by Hopkins and an unforgettable story that leaves the viewer hungry for more every time.

Terell Byrd, Kings River Reviewers

I have watched a lot of movies that think copious amounts of blood and severed body parts are a substitute for real terror, rather than just horrifying in a nauseating way. I find the plot of North by Northwest truly frightening. You get up one day, everything seems normal until someone mistakes you for another person. The person you are mistaken for is mixed up with a very evil bunch of people who pursue and then repeatedly try to kill you. Every time someone seems to believe your story that you are being pursued and it is all a case of mistaken identity, the kind listener turns out to be working with the people who are trying to end your life. Even your own mother doesn’t believe you! I still bite my nails during the famous scene with Cary Grant running through endless cornfields, a crop duster at his heels. Alfred Hitchcock had an extraordinary gift for suspense and this is my personal favorite of his movies.

Christine Autrand Mitchell, Area Arts & Entertainment

Even though Exorcist Part III has nothing to do with the original franchise, this is one of my favorite scary movies. It has been on the top 10 scariest movie countdown list for many years. Why? Well, it plays upon childhood fears, of stories read as a child, as well as being a pretty complete story. My mother is Austrian, so I grew up with the original Grimm fairy tales and stories which most Americans don’t know about, from Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann called DER STRUWWELPETER. These morals include the boy who wouldn’t stop sucking his thumb so the neighbor, a tailor, came by and cut them off with giant scissors (there’s something similar in E.III). I was in my early 20’s the first time I saw it, and I wouldn’t let my husband leave me alone in a room for about 2 weeks!

Heather Parish, Area Arts & Entertainment

Since All Hallow’s Eve is ostensibly the time when the veil between this world and the spirit world is thinner than any other time of year, I like a good ghost story for October movies. My favorite of all time is The Innocents (1961), based on Henry James’ famous psychological horror story, The Turn of the Screw— a story I like so well I’ve directed it as a play twice! Second to that is 2001’s The Others. Both stories turn on the question of whether the visions of the central character are real ghosts or products of fevered imaginations and disturbed mental states– making for great discussion over hot chocolate and candy at the end of the night.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur, Kings River Reviewers

Before Buck Owens took over and made it his headquarters, the River Theater on N. Chester in the Oildale district of Bakersfield was a great place for kids on a Saturday afternoon. That’s where I went to see Journey to the Seventh Planet.

At the theatre, I bumped into a classmate, Johnny. We sat together and shared the snacks we each brought from home. The movie began. Made in Denmark, starring John Agar, it was the scariest thing I had seen in nine years on earth. I grabbed on to Johnny’s hand in terror, and started bending his thumb back to touch his arm! I couldn’t stand the fright! I left the theater to wait in the lobby, but I kept going back to the door, standing on tiptoes, peering through the porthole window to try to see what I was afraid to see!
I never saw the ending of the movie. says it’s about a giant brain on the planet Uranus that plants memories in a United Nations space crew, but all I know is…THAT was a scary movie!

Sandra Murphy, Mysteryrat’s Maze

I used to go to the movies with my cousin Becky. Mom and Aunt Millie visited; Becky and I ate Milk Duds with popcorn and watched the show.

Why I ever went to Alfred Hitchcock movies with her is as big a mystery as what we saw on the screen. I am the close-my-eyes-and-don’t-watch-the-scary-parts type. Becky is the oh-no-watch-out-he’s-behind-you, grab my arm with one hand and smack me with the other type. I ended up the bruised-and-battered type. Psycho was the worst. As I recall, through faded memory and squinted eyes, there’s a scene where the heroine goes up a flight of stairs, ever so slowly. We know there’s a man with a knife behind the curtain and she’s going right toward him!

In the theater, there was absolute quiet as everyone held their breath, hoping she’d escape but thinking, it’s not gonna happen. Tommy and Connie were on a date and sat behind us in about the second row from the top, farthest from the screen but closest to the concession stand. At the moment of maximum suspense, Tommy reached out and put a hand on either side of Becky’s neck.

Becky can scream like nobody’s business.

In those days, the theater had ushers and ushers had flashlights. We got yelled at and the projectionist might have even stopped the film. We denied making the noise, denied even hearing the noise and got to stay to see the end of the movie.

Poor Janet Leigh found out crime doesn’t pay. Becky and I found out we shouldn’t sit near Tommy. It’s been many years since we went to the movies together. Maybe it’s time to give Becky a call. I wonder what Tommy’s doing now.

Larry Ham, Sports Spotlight

Being a 1950’s Sci-Fi fan, I am tempted to choose a movie from that era, but they really aren’t that scary. For me, without question, the scariest movie I have ever seen is the original version of The Omen with Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. The music, the acting, the story line about the birth of the anti-christ and the extremely graphic special effects make for a nightmare inducing experience. And if you’ve seen it, you’ll never go near a truck carrying sheets of glass again!

Margaret Mendel, Food Fun

I think the most frightening movie I ever saw was Night Of The Living Dead. It took the drama of the undead and brought it to a totally other level for me. I found myself holding my breath and looking behind me as I watched the movie and then for some days afterwards I still wasn’t so comfortable with dark hallways, quiet streets and sudden knocking at my door. Such a fantastically frightening experience!!!

Marilyn Meredith, Mysteryrat’s Maze

I used to love horror movies; rented all the ones I’d missed at the movies. Then when they began to get so graphic and bloody, my interest waned. But I do really like a good scary movie, one with ghosts, or unexpected twists. An all time really scary one was called Visiting Hours-no one in the hospital
was safe. Another one I saw long, long ago was about some people in a motorhome being chased by witches. Have no idea what the name of it was, but that one scared me so much that I really didn’t want to go camping for awhile.

Sheryl Wall, Pet Perspective

Coraline is about a young girl who moves to an old house and is very unhappy because it seems her family is too busy for her. She discovers a blocked off passageway that leads to a parallel world where everyone has button eyes. At first she loves all the attention she receives from her other family until her other mother tells her she must give Coraline button eyes and that they expect her to stay with them forever. Then she has to find a way to go back to her real home, which proves to be a dangerous adventure. Coraline is one of my favorite movies because it is so unique and creative. I loved the Stop motion animation and the way it brings a little more creepy to the story. Its one of the few movies I can watch often and still enjoy it.

Joyce Brandon, Pet Perspective

For my favorite scary movie I have to reach way back into my childhood. I make a point of not watching scary movies as an adult, but there were several I enjoyed as a child. I came up with three that are memorable to me: The Birds, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and the silly, yet scary, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. I decided upon the latter. It was silly scary, but still scary. An organ playing all by itself with bloody keys: that’s good stuff! Scary movies when I was young didn’t have to go into graphic detail to be good. We were entertained by birds attacking people and a pet parakeet served up on a platter by a psycho sister. Oh for the good old days!

James Garcia Jr., Downtown Doings

This past year I saw a film that restored my faith in good, intelligent horror. Let Me In is a film by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves. It is based on the 2008 critically acclaimed Swedish film Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) and the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. The film opens with a captured suspected killer being rushed to a Los Alamos, New Mexico hospital. His face and chest has been severely burned by acid, and he eventually throws himself out of the 10th floor window. We then flashback two weeks where we find bullied 12 year old Owen attempt to live out a pathetic existence. It is then that a mysterious 12-year-old girl and her dad move into the apartment next door. When they eventually meet, Abby informs Owen that they cannot be friends, but it is inevitable and they develop a sweet friendship that is bigger than the both of them. Her dad asks her at one point to discontinue seeing the boy, but it is far too late for that. Later, Abby informs Owen that “he isn’t my dad”. The drama increases as a series of murders and attacks begin to occur with alarming frequency; Owen is pulled in different directions due to his parents’ impending divorce, and as Owen must deal with the bullying at school. He tries to hide an attack that he had, but Abby guesses the truth. When she advises him to use force against his attackers, she offers to help. “But you’re a girl,” Owen answers. “I’m a lot stronger than you think I am,” Abby replies.

If you love horror, you’ll love this. The action is paced well and the story is imaginative. The score is sweet and light when all is well between Owen and Abby, and it is haunting and squirm-inducing when events turn dark. The direction is brilliant and the effects first-rate. The reason why I love this film is due to the fact that it was masterfully done with an artful and loving touch. It transcended the genre. For me, some films are photographs that you file away in a book, while others are pieces of artwork that deserve to be hanging in the Louvre. Let Me In does just this for me. It is at times warm, romantic and gentle, and at other times truly horrifying. I’m not talking about shock here, although it does have that. I’m talking about defining moments of contradiction. Picture two pre-teens who truly love one another well before physical love comes in to change love’s nature: both standing in a darkened hallway simply holding one another. Sweet, right? Now picture that same scene with the girl covered in blood and gore, and neither seem to notice.

Zachariah Zendejas, Teen Talk

Growing up, I was introduced to such horror icons as Freddy Krueger, Michael Meyers, Jason, and Chuckie, just to name a few. However, I was never much interested, mostly because they practically scared me to death (and I’m not ashamed to admit that they do still scare me a bit); but however evil, monstrous or grotesque these villains are, none compare to (in my humble opinion) Ghostface of Scream. Sure many of you may scoff and say that the Scream movies were not scary, that Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street were true horror-fests and you would be right in some points, but we must remember that these supernatural villains have no basis in reality. Scream portrays horror in real-life: a person killing another for no other reason than revenge or just for kicks. Scream makes me think of real-life killers like Dahmer, Bundy, and the Zodiac and so on; these people are truly frightening and the Scream franchise taps into that terror of being in a town with a psychotic killer that may or may not be gunning for you. It’s part of that fear of the unknown, of not knowing of that police officer, teacher or your best friend is the one delivering Colombian neckties to half the people in town. To paraphrase a line from the Scream movies, there’s just something about a masked, human, killer who just has to kill.

Diana Bulls, Hometown History

The Pit and the Pendulum, vintage 1960 or so, was one of a series of movies based on stories by Edgar Allen Poe and starring Vincent Price. The movie was set in Spain and the hero visits a castle to investigate his sister’s mysterious death. The movie has ghosts, love triangles, intrigue, violent deaths and insanity. Everything a good horror movie needs to keep you awake, especially the final scene. The hero’s sister didn’t die after all. She and her lover have conspired to drive her husband mad so they can inherit his money and estates. After a prolonged haunting, the husband is on the verge of sanity and that night he thinks he hears his wife calling his name. He follows her voice to the torture chamber, where she suddenly appears causing him to fall down a flight of stairs. The wife and her lover, thinking he is dead, taunts his “corpse” about their scheme. The husband opens his eyes, begins laughing manically and overpowers the doctor, killing him. He gags his wife and locks her in the iron maiden. The hero, hearing her screams, rushes to the torture chamber only to be overtaken by the madman who straps him to a stone slab located directly beneath a huge razor-sharp pendulum. The swinging blade is lowered closer and closer to hero’s torso, but help arrives just in time in the form of the madman’s sister and the butler. The madman is overpowered and killed. As they leave the torture chamber the sister vows to seal it up forever. They slam and lock the door, totally unaware that the wife is still alive, gagged and trapped in the iron maiden.

Tom Sims, Helping Hands

Favorite? The scariest movie I ever saw was Old Yeller. I’ve seen others, but that one terrified me in my youth – Poor old dog.

Kristalyn Patzkowski, Teen Talk

I’m not a big fan of scary movies, so I don’t watch them very often. I watched a few scary movies when I was younger, but now I avoid the horror genre. The scariest movie that I’ve seen, or at least the one that I think about the most during the Halloween season is Casper: The Friendly Ghost. When I was younger, I used to think that Casper was real and he was going to find me. In fact, I used to think that all ghosts were real and that they all were lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the right chance to “gang up” on me. Fortunately, I’ve never had any encounters with the supernatural! … And I don’t ever want to either!

Lorie Lewis Ham, Editor-In-Chief

I have never been a fan of scary movies, and yet I LOVE vampires, so go figure. That love began as a small child watching Dark Shadows with my mom. So for favorite scary type movie I would have to pick Interview With A Vampire, one of the best vampires movies ever made. I am a huge fan of Anne Rice and especially of her vampire Lestat. While I’m not a fan of Tom Cruise, who plays Lestat in this movie, he did do a good job of playing the truly creepy side of this vampire and I love Brad Pitt as Louis. While this movie isn’t terribly scary it definitely has some very creepy moments with Lestat. So if you love REAL vampires, not those that sparkle, give this one a try. Better yet, read the books.

Please share your favorites with us!

1 Comment

  1. Loved Sanda Murphy’s tale of movie going with her cousin. I, for one, will stick to comedies, thank you very much. My heart probably would have stopped if anyone touched me during a scarey movie and I guarantee I could out scream Becky!


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